Japan Tears Spain Apart To Win FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, Including One Epic Screamer
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Japan won the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup with a 3-1 rout of Spain on Friday in France, avenging an earlier loss in impressive fashion. Japan scored the game’s first three goals, including a scorcher from Hinata Miyazawa in the first half.
Spain defeated Japan 1-0 in Group C play, the Spanish ladies taking first place in a group of death that also included the United States. The two met again in Vannes, France, with the tournament on the line.
In the final of the U-20 Women's World Cup, Japan showed it was the best in the world in this age group.
Japan led 1-0 at halftime thanks to the best goal of the match — maybe the whole tournament. Miyazawa dribbled around the top of the 18-yard box before launching a laser-guided missile into the top corner from 25 yards out.
In the second half, Japan turned on the style.
Saori Takarada doubled Japan’s lead in the 57th minute, taking a nice layoff past the Spanish defense and shooting assuredly into the corner.
Takarada then showed some lovely foot skills to set up the third goal, which was put away brilliantly by Fuka Nagano, who last year was named the Asian Young Footballer of the Year.
Nagano, like many of her teammates, was also a member of the team that won the U-17 Women's World Cup in 2014 and reached the final of the U-17 Women's World Cup in 2016, a tournament for which she was the top scorer.
Takarada finished joint top scorer in the U-20 Women's World Cup with six goals, equal to England’s Georgia Stanway and Spain’s Patricia Guijarro. Stanway scored in England's shootout win against host France to take third place earlier Friday.
Spain did get a late consolation in the match, Candela Andujár reaching a cross with perfect timing to volley in a goal in the 71st minute.
It wasn’t enough to overcome the talent of Japan, which won yet another youth World Cup.